Relationships are the most valuable currency that every company owns. They’re the assets that separate the winners from the losers across the world's biggest industries. But the tools and infrastructure that most companies use today to take advantage of those assets is woefully inadequate.
The relationship economy
The early 2000s brought a renaissance in relationship management software. The days of using Rolodexes were over. The cloud became the norm, with pioneers like Salesforce, Hubspot and LinkedIn leading the way. They quickly modernized the way that the business world manages relationships.
Traditional CRMs deliver on the promise of relationship management incredibly well for industries driven by volume like retail, hospitality, and consumer goods. In these industries, relationships are more short-term and commoditized and sales teams are focused on pipelines, funnels, and cold outreach.
The problem is that these tools are all predicated on adoption and their success is limited to a company’s ability to enforce discipline and rigor in manual data entry. In sectors where employees keep enough information up to date, it doesn’t matter if a CRM doesn’t have a way to automatically pull in company-wide communication streams. The data is accurate enough for leaders to make business decisions.
However, relationship-driven businesses don’t operate that way.
In the relationship-driven economy, people are generating huge amounts of data in meetings and emails, yet no one has the time to enter data into a CRM. This means there’s no foundation for generating the insights that help sales teams make better decisions about how they deploy their time into their networks, show up smarter to meetings, and better leverage their relationships to open new doors.
For the last 20 years, guesswork and memory have remained the gold standard. It sounds ridiculous in our data-driven age, but anyone that has personally experienced the pain of using or getting a team to use Salesforce, or played the guessing game of who-knows-who on LinkedIn —where we all have thousands of connections, but no understanding of whether someone is connected because they met at a dinner party three years ago or because they talk everyday—knows it to be true.
Unlocking relationship intelligence
Sales leaders in relationship-driven industries have some of the biggest networks in the world. They spend 90% of their lives in meetings or sending emails. Every relationship is important because someone you meet today might unlock or enable the biggest deal of your life—only it might be five or 10 years down the road.
These senior leaders have the most extensive networks and yet they have the least amount of time to spend entering data or researching potential connections that their teams might need. Plus, they’re the least likely to regularly engage with the sales management applications deployed in their organization.
Meanwhile, the massive, ubiquitous data exhaust of daily business communication has gone untapped and with it the relationship insights that improve prospecting, improve deal flow, and help close deals faster. The majority of the world’s relationship data doesn’t live inside a static system like a CRM. Instead, the data exists in calendar invites, emails, calls and text messages—and publicly available data about people and companies.
CRMs have built integrations to add email communications to contact records but ignore the completely up-to-date contact information in these communications (where does someone work; what is their email address, their job title, their phone number) and the relationship insights that can be built from these billions of interactions.
The volume of data Google indexes every year is approximately the volume of communication data exchanged globally every 4 hours. We think that’s crazy, but what’s even more crazy is that—until now—no one had built a seamless way to plug into all of these exhausts and apply AI and natural language science on top of them to generate meaningful insights.
Making your CRM work for you
Affinity empowers sales teams in relationship-driven industries with insights and technology to find, create, and close the most important deals. By plugging into that massive data exhaust and building technology to automatically process, capture, and enrich all of that critical data, Affinity can deliver insights through the applications salespeople use every day to drive their business. The result: deals that close 25% faster.